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Pivoteers: Where Are They Now?
Pivoteers: Where Are They Now?
The Wild and Wonderful Adventures of Pivot Alums

Poets and painters. Musicians and motorcyclists. Jet-setters and jewelry designers. Over the past decade, a pretty eclectic bunch of creative thinkers has called Pivot home. Both professionally and personally, Pivoteers push themselves to develop their skills and never stop learning. That drive makes for a well-rounded, passionate team, but there’s one big downside: saying goodbye when someone’s ready for a new challenge.

We’re proud of our former coworkers and all the awesome projects they’re working on. This week, we caught up with some Pivot alums to see what they’re up to:

Brian Pennington | Indianapolis, Indiana

Brian took a chance on Pivot before it was even born. In fact, he was its first employee, and he helped design our trademark bicycle. But after six years at Pivot, he got the chance to explore the intersection of tech and design at Studio Science—a consultancy focused on B2B brands and digital products. He now works as their design lead, and he also contributes to local startups (Tinderbox,, and Visible, among others).

What led you to Pivot?
Jenn and I were working for Print Resources as she prepared to launch a new marketing company. When the plan was ready, she asked if I would join. It was an awesome experience to help create the company I would spend the next few years working for.

So, how did the Pivot logo come to be?
As we planned Pivot, we went back and forth on ideas for the logo. We were considering the idea of an interchangeable mark paired with a consistent logotype. We created three versions of the mark: the bike, a biplane, and a train. We loved the bike, so we used it first and never looked back. Now with the perspective of time, it’s almost awkward to consider using the others. The bike was always meant to be.

How did your work at Pivot prepare you for Studio Science?
Jenn entrusted me with a lot of responsibility from the beginning. And that level of trust forced me to grow multi-dimensionally. I learned firsthand what it meant to start and grow a business from the ground up. My immersion into the business was exponentially beneficial in preparing me for what was next.

What types of projects do you work on there?
As a design lead, I serve as the point of contact for both the client and our internal team. Day to day, that means helping the team create amazing work as well as ensuring projects are on time and in budget. Additionally, I’ve had the chance to contribute to a few of the companies we’ve started as well as some new ones you’ll hear about soon.

Devon McGinnis | Atlanta, Georgia

Devon was Pivot’s first content director. She served as our resident wordsmith for two years and helped establish Pivot’s voice. Now the editorial manager for Salesforce Research, Devon works with data analysts to help businesses drive customer success. One of her favorite projects there to date? She and her team just released the “2016 State of Marketing” report, based on a survey of nearly 4,000 marketing leaders worldwide.

Devon McGinnis

What led you to Pivot?
I started working with Pivot shortly after moving to Indianapolis from Atlanta. Jenn and I had a chance encounter at an event where local nonprofit Building Tomorrow was sharing their mission of building schools in Uganda. My writing and agency background ended up being a good fit for the next role Jenn was looking to hire.

What are some of your favorite Pivot memories?
I was part of Pivot when it was only a team of three. I worked closely with Brian Pennington, who’s an amazingly talented designer. In such close working quarters, Brian and I were constantly bouncing ideas off of each other, and I learned how to approach my writing with a design frame of mind. I learned that designers can have damn good headline ideas and that writers, occasionally, can have decent design concepts. That collaboration is my favorite memory from my time at Pivot.

How did your work at Pivot prepare you for your current job?
My time at Pivot helped me develop thicker skin. I don’t think that’s something that comes naturally to most creative individuals. It requires practice and patience, day in and day out. It means you look at your own work more objectively. And it means you know how to stand up for the work you really believe in.

What’s on the horizon for you, personally and professionally?
Well, most immediately on the horizon will be some time away from work on maternity leave. I am mildly hopeful that I’ll be able to make some progress on my half-written travel memoir this summer in between diaper changes. My return to work will likely fall right before Dreamforce, our biggest event of the year, but Salesforce has great resources for working parents that I’ll definitely take advantage of.

Ashley Ford | New York, New York

Ashley worked as our office manager and project coordinator before New York City called her away, and Pivot karaoke will never be the same without her powerful renditions of “Proud Mary” and “Islands in the Stream.” These days, you’ll find Ashley’s work in outlets including BuzzFeed, Elle, and Slate, and in the not-so-distant future, she might just be coming to a bookstore near you.

Ashley Ford

What led you to Pivot?
My dream of working for a company I could genuinely love. Right before I started working at Pivot, I realized how necessary it was for me to work in a creative environment, and I was convinced I would never find a job like that in Indiana. I wasn’t interested in some place that paid a lot of lip service to creativity, but when you showed up it was just another droll atmosphere. Pivot lit me up from the moment I walked in for my interview. The whole place seemed to be vibrating with potential and passion, and I wanted in.

How long were you a part of the team?
I worked at Pivot for almost a year to the day. One of the things I loved most about working there was never having to hide that my true passion was writing. Jenn knew that and was supportive of making the job work for me and my needs, as long as I did the job well. My first week at Pivot I was telling her about a few cool things happening in my writing life, and she stopped, looked at me, and said, “Just give me a year. Don’t leave before a year.” I thought she was crazy to think I’d ever have a reason to move on from Pivot, but almost a year later BuzzFeed offered me a job as a full-time staff writer. I didn’t go until my year was up.

How did your work at Pivot prepare you for what you’re doing now?
I’m currently a full-time freelancer, which means I’m working for myself. I am a business. I can’t imagine that there is a better education on running a business than having the privilege of working with Jenn for a year. I watched her advocate for herself, for our team, our clients, and for Indianapolis in general almost every day. I watched her be decisive, tough, and vulnerable enough to ask for help. It was an education, pure and simple. Working with Pivot prepared me to be in charge, be accountable, and truly lead.

What’s on the horizon for you, personally and professionally?
Personally, I’m trying to be more of a social human and a better daughter, partner, sister, and friend. Professionally, I’m wrapping up an anthology with my mentor and friend Roxane Gay this year. I’m also hoping to start a podcast of some kind soon. I’m really (cross your fingers) going to try to sell my first book this year. And finally, I just found out I’m starting a new job that I really, really wanted but can’t share the details of yet.

Sarah Grieb | San Francisco Bay Area, California

Sarah’s writing impressed us before we met her, and once we got her into the office, we knew we had to bring her on board. She gave our brands strong personalities and made their copy sing. Sarah moved back to California in 2015, where she writes for Blue Bottle Coffee. We envy them her energy and passion, and we envy her their delicious micro-roasted java.

Sarah Grieb

What led you to Pivot?
The sagacious Ashley Ford, who was working at Pivot before I started there, spotted me when I started following Pivot’s Twitter, and recommended that Jenn check out my writing. I had marketing experience, but Jenn saw value in my other creative work, too. I think that’s something not many other agencies know how to recognize and evaluate in their creatives, and there’s a lot of untapped potential as a result.

What are some of your favorite Pivot memories?
Karaoke night with Melissa and Joshua, driving to and from meetings with Union, and watching Jenn, Keri, and Ryan wow clients during meetings and presentations.

And what led you to Blue Bottle Coffee?
While I was at Pivot, I really enjoyed working with retail brands that had high standards and distinctive personalities. Blue Bottle Coffee has all those qualities, and the aesthetic of the brand has a literary bent that resonates with me, both as a writer and a coffee drinker. I was also eager to use what I’d learned at Pivot through the exposure I gained to so many different kinds of clients and apply it to one client.

How did your work at Pivot prepare you for your current job?
Pivot’s all-hands-on-deck approach to the research and creative work in branding and marketing projects helped me develop an analytical, results-oriented mindset along with my creative skills.

We miss these Pivoteers and all the others who’ve gone on to new adventures, but we can’t wait to see what they do next. Keep inspiring us, guys. And stay in touch!